Simplicity and Freedom

“The more liberated one feels the less one needs.” Henry Miller
“Freedom can not be bought for nothing. If you hold her precious, you must hold all else of little value.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca 4BC – 65 AD
The other day I got to thinking about how I process things, and it’s very much through a filter of approval. I mean, as a musician it’s hard to live too far outside the camp of wanting praise or at least validation that someone is listening to you. But I’ve noticed something about myself the last few years. I’ve been arrested by what people think. As a younger man in my early 20’s I felt I had nothing to lose. I also felt I had everything I needed in the little that I had. As I finished college I looked around at people and found that peers of mine were acquiring quite a bit of success, and I wanted that.
When Alissa and I got married, I justified my desire to have this great social profile so that I could provide for my family. Valid desire that it is, my logic behind it was unfounded, and sacrificed a social freedom that I once had. I was now subject to my aspirations and perceived social standings. The quality of my car, or shoes, or jeans, or whatever, ruled this powerful inner stream of self value. It was under the surface for the most part, but the current was wildly ferocious.
So I come to today where I’m reading these quotes about freedom. I wonder just how many things rule me besides my desire to have reasonable success and acclaim, and some days unreasonable success and acclaim. How about a short list?
1)Comfort foods that are highly processed and saturated with unnatural substances. I eat up while hearing of and knowing more and more people with cancers of all kinds.
2)The American lifestyle of consumption and comfort at any and all costs. The earth gets the shaft because I need pampering of some sort.
3)An attitude of entitlement that tells me that I deserve to have all my wants brought to me and that anything less is either, my crappy dealt hand, my crappy work ethic or my crappy talent level.
4)Non-Biblical religious rules and thought processes passed down from groups of men who simply had too little information and too much bias to speak down through the generations
So if I trace the logic of these quotes to be liberated from these (and other) pseudo needs that I have talked myself into, I want to cultivate simplicity in my life. The second quote has an undercurrent of silent violence toward all that does not promote simplicity. Freedom is the prize for which all else is sold and discarded. It sounds like hard work for me, but I know it’ll be worth it. I can’t afford to be grouchy and angry until I feel “free.” The journey itself is freeing. Every step towards my destination takes me that much farther away from where I was.

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